Let’s Face It: The Coal Industry Is a Job Killer

Flickr/ Aqua Mechanical

By Basav Sen for Other Words – Wind and solar could create many, many more jobs than coal — especially if the government stops propping it up. When Donald Trump announced he was rolling back the Obama administration’s signature climate rules this spring, he invited coal miners to share the limelight with him. He promised this would end the so-called “war on coal” and bring mining jobs back to coal country. He was dead wrong on both counts. Trump has blamed the prior administration’s Clean Power Plan for the loss of coal jobs. But there’s an obvious problem with this claim: The plan hasn’t even gone into effect! Repealing it will do nothing to reverse the worldwide economic and technological forces driving the decline of the coal industry. And the problem is global. As concern rises over carbon dioxide, more and more countries are turning away from coal. U.S. coal exports are down, and coal plant construction is slowing the world over — even as renewables become cheaper and more widespread. To really bring back coal jobs, Trump would have to wish these trends away — along with technological automation and natural gas, which have taken a much bigger bite out of coal jobs than any regulation.

UK Set For First Coal-Free Work Day Since Pre-Industrial Times

Drax, the UK's biggest coal power station, has converted to partly run on biomass (Flickr/Jonathan Brennan)

By Megan Darby for Climate Home – Three old coal plants closed last year, while surging renewables, cheap gas and a carbon price make the remaining power stations less viable. A halving of coal use in 2016 was the main driver of a 5.8% fall in UK carbon dioxide emissions, according to Carbon Brief analysis of official data. The government has pledged to end coal burning by 2025, subject to consultation. Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said the day should be noted by politicians fighting over who will lead the UK through the next stage of its energy transition. “A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in ten years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again,” she said. “It is a clear message to any new government that they should prioritise making the UK a world leader in clean, green, technology. They will need to get on with the coal phase-out plan and recognise the economic potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency. We can meet the UK’s needs for skilled jobs and fair bills, whilst also meeting our climate targets.” Britain is phasing out coal faster than some European neighbours like Germany, helped by a surcharge of £18 a tonne of CO2 ($23) on top of the €5 ($5) EU market price.

EU Utilities Pledge To Stop Building Coal Plants In 2020

The Reid Gardner Coal Plant on Maopa Paiute land (Photo: Derrick Broze/MintPress News)

By Anamaria Olaru for Eurelectric – In a statement adopted by the Board of Directors, the sector reiterates its commitment to deliver on the Paris Agreement. In addition, it announces its intention not to invest in new-build coal-fired power plants after 2020. “The power sector is determined to lead the energy transition and back our commitment to the low- carbon economy with concrete action,” said EURELECTRIC President and CEO of the Portuguese energy group EDP, António Mexia. “With power supply becoming increasingly clean, electric technologies are an obvious choice for replacing fossil fuel based systems for instance in the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

Utility Survey: Trump Will Not Stop the Clean Energy Transition

Power Lines

By Gavin Bade for Utility Dive. Today, President Trump is poised to release a long-anticipated executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature climate initiative. The order is expected to be accompanied by directives to lift a moratorium on federal land coal leases and to cease the use of the social cost of carbon — all part of a broad campaign to dismantle environmental regulations on the power sector that Trump blames for the decline of the coal economy in the United States. But while rescinding the rules could help slow coal power’s decline in the short term, analysts say it is unlikely to reverse its long-term downturn, mostly due to the economics of natural gas and renewables. That attitude is shared not just by market observers, but by electric utilities themselves.

Trump Sides With Coal And Other Carbon Polluters

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Alex Guillen for Politico – President Donald Trump ordered his administration to begin dismantling his predecessor’s climate change policies on Tuesday with a sweeping directive to end what he called a “crushing attack” on the U.S. economy — by halting efforts to reduce the carbon pollution of electric utilities, oil and gas drillers and coal miners. The executive order Trump signed represents his biggest blow yet to former President Barack Obama’s climate legacy. But it does not go as far as some conservatives would like to dismantle the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, nor will it begin to separate the U.S. from a landmark international climate accord — two areas of intense disagreement within the administration.

Two Fracked Gas Pipelines Equal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Of 45 Coal Plants

A sign held at an anti-Enbridge protest in Vancouver. (Photo: travis blanston/flickr/cc)

By Staff of Oil Change International – Two studies released today find that if built, the controversial Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines would together contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants — some 158 million metric tons a year. The studies, released by Oil Change International, build upon a new methodology, also released today, for calculating the climate impacts of natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian Basin based on the evolving science of methane leakage and its impact on our climate. The studies show that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is out of date on measuring climate impacts, and is failing to protect communities and citizens around the country. “Our analysis shows that both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline are climate disasters.

Cheaper Renewables To Halt Coal And Oil Demand Growth From 2020

Two workers walk in front of coal accumulated at a thermal power plant in Abono, near Gijon, northern Spain, June 5, 2012. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso

By Nina Chestney for Reuters – The falling cost of electric vehicle and solar technology will halt demand growth for oil and coal from 2020, according to research published on Thursday, posing a threat to fossil fuel companies unprepared for the transition. The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and independent think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative analyzed cost forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, government policies and the impact on road transport and power markets, which account for half of global fossil fuel consumption. “Fossil fuels may lose 10 percent of market share to PV and EVs within a single decade.

State Denies Lease Needed To Build Big Longview Coal Export Terminal

SY BEAN, SEATTLEPI.COM

By Joel Connelly for Seattle PI – The state of Washington will not allow its aquatic lands along the Columbia River to be used in a major coal export terminal, a decision announced late Tuesday by outgoing State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark. The decision by Goldmark deals a serious blow to the Millennium Bulk Terminals project, which has already experienced the bankruptcy filing of its parent firm Arch Coal. It is the latest of several blows to the fossil fuel industry in the Northwest. The lands commissioner turned down a request by Northwest Alloys, a subsidiary of Alcoa, to sublease state-owned aquatic lands to Millennium.

Newsletter - Time To Ask Who We Are

It's Our Future

By Margaret Flower and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The United States has reached a turning point. Where we turn is dependent on what we do as people to determine our future. Neither of the major political parties are going to adequately solve the crises we face. This is a time to examine and discuss some fundamental issues: who we are and who we want to be. Out of crises come opportunities to put bold solutions in place. We are calling for a People’s Agenda. We have the power to make changes in this country that completely alter the course of our nation and the world. We can say no to genocide against Native Americans. We can end systemic racism. We can demand respect for the human rights of all people. We can promote peace and prosperity for all. We can solve the climate crisis. It is up to us and how we organize in our communities. At the heart of the success of popular movements is what we have advocated – the building of a broad and diverse unified movement that is active and has built national consensus for the changes we wish to see.

King Coal Is Dethroned In US — And That’s Good News For Environment

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By Lucas Davis for The Conversation – This is the worst year in decades for US coal. During the first six months of 2016, US coal production was down a staggering 28 percent compared to 2015, and down 33 percent compared to 2014. For the first time ever, natural gas overtook coal as the top source of US electricity generation last year and remains that way. Over the past five years, Appalachian coal production has been cut in half and many coal-burning power plants have been retired This is a remarkable decline. From its peak in 2008, US coal production has declined by 500 million tons per year — that’s 3,000 fewer pounds of coal per year for each man, woman and child in the United States.

People Power Kills Coal In Oakland And Likely Kills An Export Terminal

The White House is expected to announce a stricter rule for the disposal of mountaintop-removal mining waste into streams. Some Republicans in Congress are describing the move as the latest campaign in the Obama administration’s “war on coal.” JAMES MACPHERSON — AP  Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/20/267303/as-mountaintop-mining-spreads.html#storylink=cpy

By Erin Baldassari for The Mercury News – OAKLAND — During a raucous four-hour meeting Monday night, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to ban the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke in the city. Councilmember Desley Brooks was absent from the meeting. Hundreds of people filled the council chambers, spilling into overflow rooms, and offered several hours of commentary frequently punctuated by cheers, applause and outbursts from audience members on both sides of the issue.

Biggest US Coal Company Funded Dozens Of Groups Questioning Climate Change

Peabody Energy has funded dozens of groups that question climate science, analysis shows. Photograph: Jeff Roberson/AP

By Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson for The Guardian – Peabody Energy, America’s biggest coal mining company, has funded at least two dozen groups that cast doubt on man-made climate change and oppose environment regulations, analysis by the Guardian reveals. The funding spanned trade associations, corporate lobby groups, and industry front groups as well as conservative think tanks and was exposed in court filings last month.

Will Taxpayers Foot Cleanup Bill For Bankrupt Coal Companies?

Acid drainage from surface coal mining site, North Lima, Ohio. Jack Pearce/Flickr, CC BY-SA

By Patrick McGinley for The Conversation – Coal’s share of the U.S. energy market is rapidly plunging. Low-cost fracking-generated natural gas has overtaken the use of coal at America’s power plants. Impending implementation of the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which would place stringent regulations on coal-fired power plant emissions, has also helped to drive coal production to its lowest level in decades. Government sources predict further decline. Fifty U.S. coal companies have filed for bankruptcy since 2012.

Climate Resistance Breaks Free From Fossil Fuels

Albany NY block oil train

From Rising Tide of North America. Below is a live blog of tweets reporting on the Break Free protests. For the past week, across the world people have been standing up to power of the fossil fuel industry. Rising Tide North America will be sharing live updates from Break Free actions through the weekend. Tweet from the United States, Canada, Germany and Ecuador. People came on land and on the water. The protested refineries, coal, coal trains and carbon infrastructure. People used banners, processions, sit-ins and tripods — and more. The global uprising across the world called for humanity to break fee from fossil fuels.

The Coal Vs. Fracking Canard

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By Mitch Jones for Food & Water Watch – Following a recent report from the Department of Energy that 66 percent of natural gas produced in the United States comes from fracked wells and news that March was the third straight “hottest month ever,” Mother Jones has published a piece – for a second time this year – that argues that fracking for natural gas is a valuable, even necessary, tool in the fight against climate change because it displaces coal. Both pieces were written by ClimateDesk Associate Producer Tim McDonnell.